Behold John Mayer’s cover of Drake’s “Passionfruit” (yes, you read that correctly):
My highfalutin reaction: BOOOOOOOO. It plays to the respective strengths of neither the singer nor song.
This version loses the best aspects of the original track, which is one of the high marks of the year in music: THE BEAT, Moodyman’s “hold on hold on…” playback, and the Canadian Crooner’s perfectly-matched auto-tuned voice. Instead, it highlights the lyrics, which are — despite their catchy wordplay — the worst part of the song. They mostly serve to simplistically engage the mind while the body grooves to the tune, lending a consistently smooth vibe to the proceedings.
Removing the lyrics from their intended context and having them come out of Mayer’s mouth almost unfairly emphasizes their general soul-pop shallowness. They were never supposed to be sung by a voice with such a capacity for capturing the emotional nuances of lyrical meaning.
Though I respect an artist of Mayer’s caliber toying around with unexpected types of music in front of a live audience, this cover basically wastes both the song and the singer.